Nice on red alert while Lotto-Soudal return Tour’s first two ‘non-negatives’

Concern continues to mount over whether the French Grand Tour will take place

Nice, the French city hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France starting on Saturday, has been placed on red alert following a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Alpes-Maritimes region, where Nice is situated, is one of 19 regions newly placed under red alert as France continues to try to avoid a second lockdown following the resurgent spread of the virus.

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Meanwhile, the first so-called “non-negative” coronavirus test results of the Tour de France have been returned, with two members of the Lotto-Soudal staff sent home on Thursday evening.

Previously, the race had said teams would be sent home if two members tested positive but this rule was rowed back on after teams sought a compromise.

Further complications include the fact the Tour remains in Nice until stage three on Monday morning when the peloton sets off for Sisteron. The race will then avoid major cities until Lyon on Sunday September 13th.

But whether we will still have a race then remains up in the air. ASO and UCI are also yet to explain whether they will allow the yellow jersey to be awarded after a certain number of stages fewer than 21 have been raced.

More to follow…